New leader set for BV Fair

Monday, May 22, 2006

Blues band and more added

Vicki Roberts, who is renowned for the impressive variety of floppy hats she enjoys wearing while happily parading around the Buena Vista Fair Grounds, will be wearing a new hat this season.

A board member for six years, and serving as president last year, she has been named the new secretary/manager, taking over for Mary Weiland who retired from the position after last year's fair run.

The position includes more work but she is having a great deal of fun, she confides.

She also feels it is important work - the country fairs are a unique part of the lifestyle and heritage of rural America and are well worth working to preserve.

When it comes to planning the fair, a team approach prevails. The entire fair board of directors pitches in to help find the entertainment and exhibitors.

The secretary's chores include the correspondence, contracts, publicity and all the other details to make the celebration a success both in terms of fun and finance.

A native of California, Roberts could never have dreamed she would one day be running an Iowa county fair. But when visiting the area to see her husband's family, they brought her to the fair one summer and it made a lasting impression. It soon came to the point that family vacation plans were scheduled to coincide with the little county fair. She was hooked.

When she and her family moved to Alta several years ago, she was approached by a member of the chamber of commerce who asked if she would organize the return of a tradition - the fair parade - which is now an annual event held the day before the fair's opening.

The BV County Fair - and the "fantastic" people she has come to know in her efforts for it, have become a part of her life.

Planning the fair is a tricky process. Many people expect some of the same entertainment and exhibits year after year, while others demand new attractions.

The 120th fair is set for July 19-July 23. There are some new entertainers and some who are making repeat appearances due to their popularity.

Back again are Nick Dattilo presenting the ever-popular "Nick's Kids Show" and Brian Staples and his animal and magic shows and his exotic petting zoo. "They're just like family to us all now," Roberts commented.

Also back for the second year will be the Rockin' R and Broken D Rodeo and the Cookies BBQ Sauce BBQ Contest.

Roberts said the fair board is pleased to also welcome back the McDermott carnival which has provided good, clean quality midway fun at the BV fairgrounds for the past several years.

New this year will be a concert by the blues band, "Class of '62" and the B & B Promotions Demolition Derby will do a "bang-up" job of providing fun entertainment on the race track with three different classes competing including front-wheel drive vans and pickup drags. "Old fashioned" kids games will be brought back this year during Kids Day (July 20).

And don't forget the 4-H'ers! They will be exhibiting livestock and sharing projects they have been working throughout the year. The pie-making contest, where 4-H'ers make two-crust pies on stage and then the uncooked items are auctioned off to benefit the 4-H groups, will be held as usual as will the popular Ag-Olympics.

Girls are invited to participate in the annual Little Miss Pageant and Fair Queen Contest. Each of the contests will be held at the grandstand.

Brian Staples and Nick Dattilo will team up to create a "Vegas" atmosphere during the fair queen coronation and following the event, Pepsi will sponsor "Let's Make a Deal," which was a great hit as a first time event last year, with great prizes.

This year's Ladies Day will again have something to offer everyone including talks on flower arranging, arthritis, quilting and sewing. Fun and prizes will be served up all day.

Heritage Bank will once again sponsor a watermelon feed and the fair board will sponsor the baby contest once again.

Coca-Cola will sponsor the second annual bike race. A larger number of participants is the goal for this year.

For the older crowd, who would rather be driving a three- or four-wheeler vehicle, there will be a seven-hour antique tractor parade. When the group returns, there will be games in front of the grandstand.

A great meal of pork, beef and turkey sandwiches; roasted corn and drinks will be served once again by the fair board. This year, you can help the board raise some badly needed funds to help in improvements. A small $2 donation will be asked for this year.

The daily admission price per day is $2 for adults and $1 for kids 7-12 and free for children under 7. Season passes are also available and will be honored throughout the duration of the fair - $6 for adults, $3 for children.

"Where else can you go for that much entertainment for that price?" the fair board secretary commented. "We need to have people come out to the fair to support the kids (4-H'ers). They take pride in their projects and look forward to their ribbons."

The 17-member fair board is led by president Jen Tovar. Scott Schwaller is the vice president and Anna Mae Flink is the secretary.

"It's a great board," Roberts said. "We all work together."

Roberts is confident that the fair is all coming together and she is looking forward to the event to get underway (and to the familiar smells of livestock mixed with corn dogs and cotton candy and the squeals and laughter of the cheerful people enjoying themselves and the entertainment provided for them.)

For additional information on the fair, you may contact Roberts at 732-6798. For more information on being a part of the demo derby, contact Arlo Becker's (319) 446-7456.

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